Laura Griffin/ Owner
The UPS Store at Milestone
Laura Griffin owns The UPS Store franchise at 2172 W Nine Mile Rd in Pensacola with her husband, Dan. She started out as a Manager of a The UPS Store location 18 years ago and worked for The UPS Store Area Office for 15 years before purchasing her current store in August of 2016. Laura is a proud member of the Junior League of Pensacola where she has chaired the Membership Development Committee and recently was honored with the League Leadership Award. She is currently the co-chair of the Research, Development and Evaluation Committee with the Junior League. In her free time, Laura enjoys spending time with her husband watching movies together and discussing current events.
Michelle Salzman / Salz Studio
Manager, recognized award winning community volunteer, and proven leader with extensive logistical and marketing experience. Performs well in a variety of roles from sales to project management and customer advocacy. In addition to corporate, educational, and community roles, Michelle Salzman is also a decorated former service member in the U.S. Army.
Kolleen Edwards Chesley has 25 years of experience in the financial services industry and spent the majority of her career as a financial advisor. In that role, Kolleen was responsible for finding her own clients and quickly learned the value of networking, networking, and even more networking. It was in 2004 and during her sales career that she, along with two other professional business women met for lunch with the purpose of helping to motivate each other after Hurricane Ivan had blown through our area and changed not only the physical landscape of the area, but also impacted the business landscape as well. Out of that lunch was born what is now a thriving not-for-profit organization for business women.
Kolleen currently serves full-time as the Founding Director of what was originally called Women’s Business Lunch and is now known as Powerful Women of the Gulf Coast. The organization advocates a culture of confidence building, lifelong learning, collaboration, empowering others and a spirit of charitable giving.
The mission of Powerful Women of the Gulf Coast is to promote, advance and improve women in business and the organization accomplishes these in a number of different ways.
- Monthly networking meetings in Pensacola and Gulf Breeze. These are open to all women and are free to attend. We run a structured meeting with open networking, an educational segment, a sponsor presentation, an opportunity to hear about the businesses of all attendees, and a whole lot of fun. We frequently hear from attendees that these meeting are chock full of value and a great way to build new relationships to help support their businesses. The Pensacola meetings include lunch paid for by our sponsors.
- Powerful Women of the Gulf Coast Magazine. We have produced 4 editions of this print magazine. Each edition features interviewees of local successful leaders in business who share their honest thoughts on leadership, success, obstacles, and inspiration as it relates to women in business. We also include other articles on leadership, networking, and other skill development. It is geared for anyone in business or looking for business motivation and tips. Our goal is for this to be a quarterly publication, however the magazine is currently on hold as we explore graphic designers. Our latest edition can still be found on our website.
- Annual Pursue Your Passion Women’s conference. To help celebrate National Business Women’s Week, we hold a full day conference during the third week of October along with several other events leading up to the conference. We feature a national keynote speaker, several local successful leaders in business, along with Speed Networking, an Experience Hall, structured and unstructured networking exercises and plenty of laughter, relationship building and excitement. Our attendees are not only motivated by the conference but they leave with tangible tips they can take back and implement in their businesses to lead them to success. For 2018, our conference will be held on Wednesday, October 17th and Thursday, October 18th, 2018 at Sanders Beach.
- Power Up Challenge is a 12 week educational series where we hold classes once a week for two hours. Classes focused around four main areas of business: Networking, Marketing, Business Efficiency, and Sales Skills. Open to men and women and all classmates receive the full audio recording of each class along with class notes, expanded notes, and extra resources. Remote classes also available. Classes are affordable and attendees are elated with the amount and quality of the information that is shared.
Women in Leadership radio podcast show – sponsored by Pensacola Business Radio X. We hold monthly shows featuring local community leaders and other men and women in business. We engage our guests in conversational style in-depth interviews.
Also Happening with Powerful Women of the Gulf Coast
We had the honor to meet with a delegation of business women from Russia last week. It inspired some amazing conversations. I wanted to pass on the news! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out! Thank you for your consideration in running this.
PENSACOLA BUSINESS WOMEN MEET WITH RUSSIAN DELEGATION ON ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Powerful Women of the Gulf Coast discussed women entrepreneurship with Congressionally sponsored Open World Program
At the invitation of the Gulf Coast Citizen Diplomacy Council, Powerful Women of the Gulf Coast met with a group of 6 women entrepreneurs from Russia visiting Pensacola through the Congressional sponsored Open World Program. This program brings emerging leaders from participating countries to the United States in order to give them firsthand exposure to the American system of participatory democracy and free enterprise.
The women from Russia were in their 30s and are business owners or hold positions equivalent to higher-level management and were from various areas of Russia. They were in Pensacola for the week and met with Powerful Women of the Gulf Coast (PWGC) and several other local organizations and businesses for conversations about women in business or entrepreneurship.
Powerful Women of the Gulf Coast’s mission is to promote, advance, and improve women in business and about a third of their membership is entrepreneurs. The conversation included an introduction of PWGC, how they started and how they operate by Founding Director, Kolleen Edwards Chesley. PWGC was able to include several advocates of their organization in the conversation including: Michelle Salzman of Salz Studio (PWGC member), Kaila Barrington of Levin Rinke Realty (PWGC Board Member), and Margie Kalaluhi of Heart Centered Wellness (PWGC member and Board Member). These ladies shared their experience with PWGC, spotlighted their own businesses, their passion for women-helping-women and they talked about their thoughts of women in business.
Margie Kalaluhi, commented, “It’s an honor to have been invited into this conversation. I have been involved with PWGC for 13 years and to be able to discuss what a women’s organization dedicated to business development has done for me and my business with women from Russia who hold such high positions in business in their own country was amazing.” The women from Russia shared their experiences and talked about what is available in Russia for business women. One of the Russian women is alumni from the largest business school in Russia, another is on the board for a large women’s business organization, and they all shared a passion for women’s leadership and women supporting other women.
Michelle Salzman added, “Having a community conversation with the purpose of sharing our views on how we can work better together as women and how to support all women in business is exciting; however to share that with women from across the globe really took it to the next level.” Kolleen Edwards Chesley added, “Conversations like this one help us to be proud of what we have in our community and inspire us all to continue to grow and make our communities even better.”
About Powerful Women of the Gulf Coast
The mission of the Powerful Women of the Gulf Coast is to promote, advance and improve women in business. Based in Pensacola, Florida, this not-for-profit organization advocates a culture of confidence building, lifelong learning, collaboration, empowering others, and a spirit of charitable giving. Through monthly networking meetings, an annual fundraising conference supporting the Gulf Coast Kid’s House, podcasts, and educational series, Powerful Women of the Gulf Coast supports women who are making a positive impact in their business, the lives of others, and the community. Founded in 2004, the organization continues to grow under the leadership of Kolleen Edwards Chelsey, serving as founding director.
Kolleen Chesley, Executive & Founding Director
Powerful Women of the Gulf Coast